Users on X are reacting negatively after it was announced that all headlines would be removed from news articles posted to the site.
The change, which currently affects mobile users and some on desktop, came after X owner Elon Musk stated that content that drives users away from the platform would be given less priority.
“Our algorithm tries to optimize time spent on X, so links don’t get as much attention, because there is less time spent if people click away,” Musk said on Tuesday.
The billionaire also this week railed against what he described as “legacy media propaganda” before suggesting that all news should be posted in full to X.
Yet the change is already being met with pushback. Journalists argued that the update will only serve to intensify the spread of misinformation. Security experts say the change creates a new danger by aiding hackers and scammers.
Some users have even gone as far as to highlight these issues by purposely spreading falsehoods alongside article links. One user, for example, shared a link to a CNBC article featuring a photograph of Musk alongside the caption: “Since you can’t see the headline, Elon Musk was arrested after being found in the street in a ketamine induced fugue state.”
In reality, the headline actually discusses Musk’s removal of headlines.
Others joked that content creators would now have to rely on outlandish thumbnails in order to attract viewers, much like is often seen on platforms such as YouTube.
“Can’t wait for Reuters thumbnails to start looking like this,” one user said above a provocative thumbnail.
Scores of other users utilized the change to make false statements as well, such as the claim that Musk had taken his own life and had been involved in pedophilia.
“I see that Space Karen’s genius idea to remove headlines from links to news articles is working out well,” another user quipped.
While the change appeared to catch many by surprise, Musk previously discussed the plan back in August. Musk alleged at the time that the change was being made purely for aesthetic reasons.
The change was also implemented just days after Reuters reported that ad revenue on Musk’s platform has been dropping by at least 55% year-over-year. Instead of making X more friendly to advertisers, Musk has seemingly opted instead to regularly promote conspiracy theories and the site’s most extreme accounts.